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Opponent preview: aw, Utah State; they're so cute

OBNUG’s game previews are written by reader-turned-contributor Stephen Grettenberg. Because not every article should contain pinings for Marty Tadman.

Utah State vs. Boise State

Utah State is showing some signs of improvement, enough for its embattled coach Buddy Guy to make a bunch of ridiculous statements, including casting aspersions at Kellen Moore. You’d think a coach would know better, unlike that NMSU lineman who got knocked on his you-know-what last week. Whatever. Odds are pretty good Buddy Guy’s only chance to experience how wrong he is will come this Saturday, because it’s a decent bet he will be gone by next season.

So why is Utah State experiencing a bit of success? QB Diondre Borel wasn’t the starter until he came off the bench to finish off Idaho. He threw for a 62-yard score and ran 61 yards to set up another score last week as Utah State pulled off an upset of Hawaii, 30-14. Borel is the real deal as a dual-threat quarterback running a spread option, but he has little help – even though he did not start until part way through the season. Borel leads Utah State in both rushing and passing.

Take away Borel, and the offense isn’t happening.

Boise State has made a habit of delivering nightmares to quarterbacks on far better teams this season. There is nothing to keep the Boise State defense from keying hard on Borel.

Utah State on Offense:

In Buddy Guy’s entire tenure as coach of the Aggies, he has not had a notable quarterback until Borel’s breakthrough game last week. 223 yards of passing with two touchdowns, and another 113 yards of rushing later, and Guy thinks Borel is his salvation. I am certain the Broncos' defensive line has taken notice.

Borel is an option quarterback, with some plays designed where he can run it himself, throw it, or hand off to his backfield mate Robert Turbin, the second leading rusher on the team and fourth leading receiver. Senior WR Otis Nelson is Borel's best target deep, with 375 receiving yards and 4 TDs. With the quality of CBs Kyle Wilson and Brandyn Thompson, Boise state can stack the running lanes while maintaining solid coverage. The Boise State defense is simply too much for Utah State.

Utah State on Defense

The idea of this Utah State defense stopping either the Kellen Moore-led passing game or the running game is absurd. 106th in the nation in total defense! What could be worse? How about 110th in scoring defense. Their best players plug up the middle, with LBs Jake Hutton (76 tackles) and Paul Igboeli (58 tackles) being backed up by safeties James Brindley (60 tackles) and Devon Hall (58 tackles). But they can’t cover the whole field, and there is little depth behind them.

The corners are vulnerable to speed and will need to play back to compensate. Jeremy Childs is slated to start and can stretch the DBs down the field. That dynamic should make running plays, screens, and short passes to Kyle Efaw in the flat more than Utah State can handle.

The Game:

Last week I wrote, "Despite the trash talk, this should be a cakewalk for Boise State, and it is important to get a few style points if Boise State expects to stay in the lead over the other BCS hopefuls from the non-automatic berth teams."

The same holds here. I also picked Boise State by at least twenty points, which was far too conservative.

The pick:

Boise State by at least 30 points.